Book Spotlight: October 2011
September 30, 2011
From All Points: America's Immigrant West, 1870s-1952, by Elliot Robert Barkan. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007.
By the end of the 20th century the American West was home to nearly half of America's immigrant population, including Asians and Armenians, Germans and Greeks, Mexicans, Italians, Swedes, Basques, and others. This book tells their rich and complex story.
The author describes how the immigrants and their children built communities, added to the region's culture, and contended with discrimination and the lure of Americanization. The book also describes, often through first- person accounts, the difficulties of living with isolation, adaption and maintaining and mixing traditions in the American West.
From All Points drives home the point that the true wealth of America is in the diversity of its peoples. By including portions of individual life stories, the author manages to capture the essence of the immigrant experience, and puts a human face on many of the general tendencies and developments he describes. The book rewards the reader with close attention to individual voices of immigrants. Many reviews of From All Points have cited that the West finally becomes a full part of American immigration history with this expansive and detailed book.